eGaming Review January 2014 - Page 46

2013 : W H A T W E L E A R N E D F E A T U R E in all three states and a B2C launch in New Jersey. Against the backdrop of a shrinking overall poker market, the operator’s strategy of focusing on the recreational player also saw it leapfrog Full Tilt in PokerScout’s online cash game traffic rankings for the first time. The operator’s progress was recognised in style at the 2013 eGR Operator Awards where the company scooped three prizes including the coveted Operator of the Year award. It also took home the top awards in the poker and casino categories. Over the course of the year 888 has achieved success in regulated markets, most notably in Spain. Its casino and poker products have seen it gain around 20% market share. Growth continued throughout the year and in its most recent financial results, casino posted a 19% year-on-year increase in revenues and poker revenues stayed steady in an increasingly tough and declining market with a 0.4% revenue rise. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? net revenue market estimates currently range from as low as $200m to over $1bn and European operators have made no secret as to their expectations from establishing a brand in the state. 888 has outlined ambitions to be in profit by the end of 2014. Far more will be known about New Jersey in 2014 as the market matures. One of the men responsible for getting the market up and running, Senator Raymond Lesniak, has already moved onto his next challenge. He wants New Jersey to become one of the world’s biggest online gambling hubs by enabling state-licensed operators to offer their online platforms to players in jurisdictions outside of the US. WINNERS AND LOSERS The decision by the New Jersey regulator to delay PokerStars’ licence application for two years will have pleased other operators in the state. The clear early winners were Caesars and who shot out of the blocks with aggressive marketing campaigns, but with geolocation and payment issues still remaining the true winners in this market have yet to be decided. 44 03 888 HITS THE BIG TIME Gibraltar-licensed operator 888 posted an impressive performance in its two core products and became a major player in the regulated US market WHAT HAPPENED? 888 showed that not only could it compete in Europe, but that it could be a big player in the US with supplier deals Despite success in Spain and the launch of poker in Italy also expected by spring of this year, the operator remains focused on the UK market. Itai Pazner, 888’s senior vice-president and head of B2C believes it has taken the necessary steps to cope with the impending PoC tax. “It’s all about adapting the marketing mix, adapting the cost per acquisition and bonuses,” he says. Moving into 2014, the operator has also managed to carve out a strong position for its B2B operations in New Jersey, in addition to obtaining a licence in Nevada, where CEO Brian Mattingley has already claimed it is capable of gaining a huge slice of the pie. Via its B2B arm Dragonfish, it has partnered with Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE), to launch online poker and casino in the state, while also launching its own branded site under one of Caesars’ licences. A big push in its relatively inconsequential UK sports betting site has already begun, however time will tell whether increased investment will lead to success in that vertical. WINNERS AND LOSERS Poker and casino showed strong growth in 2013, up 15% and 9% in the nine months ended September, but bingo continued to be a black spot, down 21% while B2B revenues were down 1%.